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Dog walker asks clients to pay him half-salary during coronavirus


Dog-walker Jim Olmstead, 57, has seen business plummet by 80 percent since the outbreak, as the Chelsea resident’s clients are either working from home and caring for their pups themselves or have fled the city.

Things really ground to a halt for me around St Patrick’s Day [March 17] when around a quarter of my regular 20 clients texted me to stay home that week.

They mostly offered to pay me, but I somewhat foolishly didn’t take them up on it, saying: “That’s very generous and much appreciated,” but that I didn’t like the idea of not working and still getting a salary.

Now I am making about a fifth of what I usually earn.

I have gone into my cash [savings] but I didn’t have the chance to fully prepare. I’m not proud of this, but I’ve already put the feelers out to my parents, saying I might need some help.

On Wednesday, I sent out an e-mail to my clients asking if we could work out something, like half salary. When this is all over, I will make it up to them by giving them a free day, spoiling their dogs with treats like a nice bath and adding on an extra 15 minutes to a 45-minute walk.

I know who will agree and who won’t. Everyone’s situation is different but, hopefully, since my clients have known me for years, they will be able to make some kind of contribution. I need enough money to feed my own dog, a rescue pit bull named Rufus.

Read more stories about the coronavirus causing unemployment.

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